Sunday Meditation 20

Tears serve a purpose.

‘Jesus wept’

What makes you cry?

Old songs? Sad movies? Loss of a loved one? Onions?

“Crying is a natural emotional response to certain feelings, usually sadness and hurt,” says psychologist Stephen Sideroff, PhD.

But get this: Sideroff added that some people cry in response to beauty. The good doctor calls that “melting.” Great word. Super description. Melting, he says, happens when people let their guard down and tap into a place deep inside themselves.

“It’s a release,” he explains. “There is a build-up of energy with feelings.”

I don’t cry often, but when I do, it’s a whopper-dropper. Gushy-whooshy. Here are three examples:

Though I have four children, I’ve seen just one being born: Rachel. What an incredible experience. When her little head popped out, her lower lip began to quiver; she started crying. I cried, too. Tears of joy.

That was 1979. My Dad visited our house shortly thereafter. I can still remember him nesting that little baby in his big arms. My, how he smiled. I expected that scene to be repeated innumerable times over the coming years. Never happened. Dad died less than a month later.

The funeral was great — if that makes sense. Pews were filled with friends, family, fellow parishioners. It was the first memorial service at First Baptist-New Port Richey. Dad, though in failing health, helped out while the church was being built — spackling walls, hammering nails, sweeping floors. Anything they needed. He was that kind of guy.

But you know what? I didn’t cry at the service. Couldn’t. Don’t know why.

Months later I was at Sears. In the men’s department. Where the work clothes are — outfits like my Dad used to wear as a construction superintendent. For whatever reason, I started to weep. Couldn’t stop. Embarrassing.

The last example is the toughest — and most recent.

A few years back, I learned my youngest brother Rick had brain cancer. Inoperable. Less than six months to live. That night I fired up my iMac, put on my headphones, and listened to “Hurt” by Johnny Cash over and over and over — sobbing uncontrollably.

Which brings me to the shortest verse in the Bible. Just two words: “Jesus wept.”

What made Christ cry? The death of a friend: Lazarus. Somehow knowing Jesus shed tears comforts me. Why? I don’t feel so alone — especially when the tears build up. Especially then . . .

Jim Lamb is a retired journalist and author of “Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales,” the story of how he survived Vietnam and kept his sense of humor. Don’t tell anybody, but sometimes he cries. For more about Jim and his writing,


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